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Women’s basketball travels to BIG EAST rival DePaul Sunday

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Women’s basketball travels to BIG EAST rival DePaul Sunday

Photo by Andrew Himmelberg

Photo by Andrew Himmelberg

Photo by Andrew Himmelberg

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The last time No. 10 Marquette women’s basketball (18-3, 9-0 BIG EAST) visited Chicago, Marquette lost by 35 to the DePaul Blue Demons (15-6, 6-3 BIG EAST) in the BIG EAST title last March. Now Marquette is looking to sweep its conference rival Sunday afternoon. Here are three things to watch:

 

DePaul’s home-court advantage

DePaul has had plenty of success at home against Marquette. The Blue Demons have gone 28-6 against the Golden Eagles when playing in Chicago.

“Everybody likes to be at home,” DePaul head coach Doug Bruno said. “(Marquette’s) playing way too well to think that because we’re home it’s going to be an easier or different type of game.”

 

Leadership from senior class

Marquette starts five seniors, which is the most out of any other BIG EAST program: Allazia Blockton, Natisha Hiedeman, Danielle King, Amani Wilborn and Erika Davenport.

“From freshman year, where they had to learn through fire, until they’re mature seniors and have to deal with all the adversity that went with those three to four years,” Bruno said. “That’s what makes them a special basketball team.”

Blockton is the reigning BIG EAST Player of the Year. Hiedeman is the BIG EAST’s leading scorer averaging 18.7 points per game. King’s speed and Wilborn’s agility give the Golden Eagles opportunities to finish in the paint. Davenport adds a post presence and has already recorded six double-doubles.

Meanwhile, DePaul is starting only two seniors.

“We’re still trying to get our players that have returned playing better. We’re trying to integrate our freshman into what we’re trying to do (and) that’s been a work in progress,” Bruno said.

 

Blockton’s impact

When these two teams met last, Blockton — who made history as the first Marquette basketball player to reach 2,000 career points Jan. 25 — was out with an ankle injury.

“She’s one of the most self-motivated players I’ve ever been around,” Marquette coach Carolyn Kieger said on her Facebook live show. “All she’s worried about right now is how she can help our team. … She’s just excited to be back, 100 percent, giving all she can.”

In Blockton’s five-game absence, Hiedeman and King took over.

“That’s why Marquette is so tough to play because it’s not just about one player,” Bruno said. “You could stop Blockton, and Hiedeman’s going to go off. You could stop Hiedeman and Blockton’s going to go off. You could stop Hiedeman and Blockton, King’s going to go off.”

 

Quote of the day: “(They’re) two great Catholic institutions, 90 miles apart, whose student bodies largely come from the Chicago area,” Bruno said. “This rivalry is our biggest rivalry. … (What’s) better than to be the undercard for Super Bowl Sunday?”

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